Because of COVID-19, it’s the worst time to work in a restaurant business.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a whirlwind of emotions and disrupted everyone’s daily lives, it’s especially affected restaurant workers. If you work in a restaurant, it’s heartbreaking to lose your income for an undetermined amount of time.
As we all know, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended a temporary suspension on any large gatherings. Because of this, at least 25 states closed dining areas in restaurants and bars. While some restaurants still offer take-out or delivery options, many bartenders, servers, hostesses, and chefs face cuts to their hours or even lay-offs until the pandemic subsides.
In fact, many servers wonder how we’ll pay rent and feed our families during this time.
I know that this is a very stressful time for many of us. But before you panic, know that help is out there. As someone who works in the restaurant industry, I want to offer some advice for others out there who are dealing with wage reductions or job loss during this global pandemic.
If your employer temporarily closed your restaurant or dramatically reduced staff’s hours, research whether you qualify for unemployment benefits. Also, you should apply for SNAP, the government’s grocery assistance program. Although large numbers of people are currently applying for both of these programs, remain patient and trust in the process. Once you tackle these two applications, you’ll experience a sense of relief, even if it’s temporary.
Once you get all of the tedious research out of the way, reach out to your employer and ask if they’ve found ways to help their employees. Some employers continue to pay normal wages despite the temporary closures. If your employer isn’t, ask if you can help staff close down and clean the restaurant to net some extra hours. If nothing else, tell your employer that you would like to use all the PTO you’ve accumulated. Even if using paid time off leaves you without vacation days later this year, it’ll provide you some income during this difficult time.
Many people believe that the restaurant industry will continue to feel the effects of Coronavirus even after life returns to normal. We can all hope that people will fill the dining areas once restaurants and bars reopen, but people may also worry that the pandemic isn’t over and avoid large establishments for a while after the ban has been lifted. However, all we can do is take life one day at a time.
If you work in the restaurant industry, I hope that you’re hanging on during this difficult time.
If you don’t work in the industry, order food to-go from local restaurants or purchase gift cards. Help out local restaurants who are still offering take-out. Although none of us knows what will come next, we will get through the Coronavirus pandemic together.
Photo by Zhanjiang Chen on Unsplash